Before reading my boy’s blog (The Free Slave)post about “Black Snake Moan” (I will not be seeing this movie BTW) I had never heard the term Magic Negro. Well after I read it about it there 1st, I started reading other posts in the Blogosphere referring to Barack Obama as a “Magic Negro”.
So of course I had to go to Wikipedia to see if there was an entry on the Magical Negro & without a doubt, they did not fail me & I now fully understand the term Magic Negro.
So now that I am enlightened to the term Magic Negro, I feel that I am a Magic Negro most of the time when on the plantation (If you are Negro, you know where I mean (if not read between the lines)).
According to Wikidepia:
The Magical Negro (sometimes called the Mystical Negro, Magic Negro, or our Magical African-American Friend) is a stock character who appears in fiction of a variety of media. The word “Negro”, now considered archaic and offensive, is used intentionally to emphasize the belief that the archetype is a racist throwback, an update of the “Sambo” stereotype. The term, which may have been in use since at least the 1950s, was popularized by Spike Lee, who dismissed the archetype of the “super-duper Magical Negro” in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.
The Magical Negro is typically “in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint,” often a janitor or prisoner. He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist. He is the black stereotype, “prone to criminality and laziness.” To counterbalance this, he has some sort of magical power, “rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters.” They are patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and are “closer to the earth.”
The Magical Negro serves as a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, typically through helping the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them. In this way, the Magical Negro is similar to the Deus ex machina; a simple way for the protagonist to overcome an obstacle almost entirely through outside help. Although he has magical powers, his “magic is ostensibly directed toward helping and enlightening a white male character.” It is this feature of the Magical Negro that some people find most troubling. Although the character seems to be showing African-Americans in a positive light, he is still ultimately subordinate to whites. He is also regarded as an exception, allowing white America to “like individual black people but not black culture.”
To save the white protagonist, however, he would do anything, including sacrificing himself, as Sidney Poitier did in The Defiant Ones, the prototypical Magical Negro movie.
Back to Me:
Wikidepia & other online sources listed movies with Magical Negro characters & I found myself laughing because amongst them were a few of my favorites, which include:
- All Whoopi Goldberg movies with the exception of the “Color Purple”
- Black Beauty
- Jumping Jack Flash
- Corrina, Corrina
- The Green Mile (Michael Clarke Duncan)
- Forrest Gump (Mykelti Williamson (Bubba))
- The Matrix (Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) & The Oracle(Gloria Foster))
- Bringing Down the House (Queen Latifah)
- House Guest (Sinbad)
- Far From Heaven (Dennis Haysbert)
Do you have any favorite movies with a Magical Negro & most importantly, have you ever felt like a Magical Negro at any given period in your life?
Oh & for the record; I do not think that Barack is magical; he’s just a Negro that has my vote!